Yesterday was such a surreal pastiche that even the Matron's deft prose will never completely capture the complexities of the day.
Parkway Little League opened its season! Here is the Matron's favorite new player.
The Matron's neighborhood is in the very working-class, blue-collar East Side of St. Paul. Parkway Little League's players and parents reflect the racial and economic diversity of this neighborhood.
It is a place where a college professor can discuss a pitcher's curve ball with the tattooed toothless truck driver. If the professor were to know enough about baseball to actually participate in such conversation, that is.
"Good swing! Way to go!" That would be the Matron.
John (hissing): "Mary! He looked terrible. Nobody is cheering!"
Well, she is all about spirit.
Merrick's T-Ball activity was precious beyond words. Basically, the adults on the field directed frantic traffic as the five-year olds figured out where to go when once you hit that ball.
Merrick spent a lot of time looking in any direction other than the one a ball might be coming from. That's him in the middle, swinging his glove.
You cannot imagine the Matron's shock when she discovered that Satan's Familiar has a twin!
Griff is the adorable creature who does not poop in the house or jump the fence. He's on the left. If one hadn't been born in Illinois and the other in Minnesota, the Matron would swear they were brothers.
The Matron put on a Parkway apron and shoved hot dogs onto buns at a heart-stopping pace for nearly two hours. Did she mention yet that her family was at that field from 9:30 in the morning until well past 4 pm?
Remember Uncle XX from California?
He not only showed up but decided going on the field during a game to take better pictures would be a really fine idea. Yes. He took his eccentric, chubby, elderly self onto Field 3 and asked Merrick to slow down, just one minute, so he could capture the moment at third base.
Someone asked the Matron: "Does he belong to you and does he need assistance?"
Later, Uncle XX fell off the bleachers and more or less rolled several feet! The entire Parkway fan base found Uncle XX to be a faster paced game than T-ball. He was the center of attention.
After Uncle XX had been dusted off and straightened out, he waved good-bye and continued on his Minnesota journey. First, he took the opportunity to introduce himself to many Parkway parents, shake some hands and pass out business cards declaring himself The California Ambassador to Minnesota.
Yes, he probably does need some sort of assistance.
That night the Matron and Scarlett stepped into an entirely new Universe at the second callbacks for Madeline and the Gypsies.
Scarlett presented her usual fatigued and disinterested front. But during the auditions themselves, when for some reason the children must have been instructed to scream and cause mayhem, she clearly heard her daughter giving the task her all.
Scarlett's main talent may simply be projection.
There was lots of fussing over hair and anxious mothers. The Matron was taken aback by the presence of make-up. Nearly all of the girls--and we are talking as young as nine-- had lipstick, liner and mascara.
While the girls were gone, mothers instantly slipped into pairs or small groups and whispered intently. The woman in the pink sweat suit was back, this time in regular clothes. They spent the entire hour taking about their daughters. Suffice it to say those mothers are pros.
Their daughters are: in dance competitions; auditioning for the Coen brother movie; winning horseback riding medals; singing in contests and at fairs and for opening days of this festival and that; entering beauty pageants; auditioning, auditioning, auditioning; in commercials; modeling; and looking for new agents because, Goddamn it, my daughter deserves better than being a bit player in a print ad!
Afterward, Scarlett and the Matron entered the elevator with a mom clearly new to the scene, her teenage daughter who didn't audition and her younger daughter who did. The teenage daughter turned to her mother and said: "That was the most intense atmosphere I have ever been in! Those women were horrible! My God! You'd think it was them instead of their daughters!"
And the Matron smiled to see she finally was in some good company at this particular theater.